Nettie Skrade, An Angel in the Garden
Although Spirit of Christ Lutheran Church in Novi, Michigan, no longer exists (now Holy Cross Episcopal Church), the memories and contributions of Nettie Skrade live on. This is her story of the love of gardening. Nettie is no longer with us. She was born on February 3, 1907, and died on April 18, 2002, at the age of 95.
The Newspaper Article Made Her Day
Ellen Creager, Free Press Staff Writer, “She tends the garden every day in summer, because the petunias grow fast and weeks even faster.
“Some people say they’re gardeners, and they plant beds of begonias and then just leave them all summer,” Nettie Skrade says. “Know what? Pretty soon, those beds look like the back wheels of bad luck”
She laughs, and her smile crinkles up brown eyes shaded by a sturdy sun hat over white hair. Her hands are smooth and tan, with freckles making their way up her strong arms. She walks down a curving path of circular stones in the memory garden at Spirit of Christ Lutheran Church in Novi, which she designed and planted. She stops and touches a Bradford pear tree. Her fingers caress the almond-shaped leaves of emerald green. …”
Detroit Free Press death notice, April 20, 2002
Age 95. Died Thursday afternoon, April 18, 2002, in Midland. she was born February 3, 1907 in Baker, Florida. She is survived by a daughter, Jacquelyn (Frederick) Brenner of Midland; a daughter-in-law, Kathy L. Skrade of Northville; four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son, Kurt Paul Skrade. In accordance with Nettie s wishes, cremation has taken place. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider MidMichigan Hospice, 3007 N. Saginaw Road, Midland, MI 48640-4555, or the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Northville. Ware-Smith-Woolever Funeral Home, 1200 W. Wheeler Street, Midland 48640. 
After this wonderful story was published by the Detroit Free Press, Nettie wrote a note to her friend, Terry Pochert, a few days afterwards. She made copies and wrote…
To my friend, Terry Pochert
By now, dear Terry, I feel certain every person deserves “5 minutes of Fame” to know the experience of glowing in Glory and distantly feeling as one with real celebrities! If it has not yet been your experience, may it come soon! Ever, Nettie K Strade 6-23-91 
A personal letter to Terry Pochert really shows what an angel Nettie was.
Late evening – Raining all afternoon but now snow nor ice – and you Dear Terry are basking in the sunshine at 75 degrees browning your complexion to prove it – and smilingly writing that picture in words…. [Read the entire letter as a PDF]
She will be missed.
- The Detroit Free Press, June 14, 1991 (JPG Page 1, JPG Page 2)
- The Detroit Free Press, April 20, 2002
- Personal note to Terry Pochert (PDF)
- Personal letter to Terry Pochert (PDF) – February 11, 1998